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  • 1.  Consultants

    Posted 04-13-2017 03:33 PM
    We have aquired an Historic School Building - with 7 buildings the first one built in 1907 and the last ones 1971. This has been a 3 year project and we just recently started working on the building to upgrade it and make it museum ready. Now that it looks like we might get the museum open someof us believe that we need to hire someone to help with the vision of the museum. Like I said everyone has had 3 years to think about what their vision is and that might cause some problems down the road. Does anyone know how we could find someone to help moderate the vision committee/board memebers to come up with a vision - we feel that if one of the volunteers monderate it might not go well for the future of the museum. We are 10 months if not more out from opening to the public and we feel that we should sstart on this now so that we will be ready. We are in need of someone ? or where we should look ? and the coat if someone knows ? Thank you

    Allison Dolan
    Largo FL

  • 2.  RE: Consultants

    Posted 04-14-2017 08:38 AM



    You need an experienced consultant that can help your board develop their vision, and a strong mission statement to guide the organization and keep it focused on an agreed upon  reason for exiting. Moving from the excitement of building, to the activity of operating, will be a challenging time and you need everyone in agreement so that you don't make any wrong turns.  The vision and mission will provide you with the basis for any future fund raising and grant application efforts. I would check with the Florida Association of Museums they should be able to suggest people or firms that can help. You are correct that you need a consultant to help and certainly one who  has no dog in the fight and can provide a guiding and leveling hand to the process.  The process can take time and should be repeated from time to time as the situation requires.

    Good Luck.


    Bruce Piatek

    Director of Historic Resources                         

    Jekyll Island Authority

    100 James Road

    Jekyll Island, Georgia 31527


    912-635-5094 office

    912-506-9389 cell


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  • 3.  RE: Consultants

    Posted 04-14-2017 11:34 AM
    Hi Allison,

    Considering that you are in the construction phase and that content and collections development are underway as well, and that you expect to be opening in just 10 months, a call for vision does need to be handled very quickly. And it needs to be efficiently encorporated into the design. Do you have an exhibit designer that you are working with? Some can be very skilled at building consensus for the needs of a project and keeping focus on the vision. We encounter so many projects of similar natures that we see what works and what doesn't from a more objective point of view.

    Please feel free to contact me if you would like any assistance.

    Suzanne McGarraugh

    Suzanne McGarraugh
    Exhibit Design Specialist
    Mountmaking & Installation
    San Antonio, TX

  • 4.  RE: Consultants

    Posted 04-14-2017 12:54 PM
    Hello Allison, It sounds like you've got a fairly advanced project already underway.  With construction work started and the beginnings of a collection it sounds to me that there has been some significant support and leadership to get you this far, great leverage for moving forward! You're wise to develop foundational documents as soon as possible to guide your near-term and future course. A consultant can help you identify your organization's purpose, stakeholders, and strategies for identifying and engaging your future audiences. Developing a cohesive, action oriented board will be critical to your success. As a former director responsible for standing up a new museum in Washington DC I've faced similar challenges. I'd be glad to speak with you to get a better idea of your project and direct you to some resources that might be helpful. You can reach me at 301-503-0036 or email

    Stephen Estrada
    Artist, Museum Design and Development

  • 5.  RE: Consultants

    Posted 04-14-2017 01:13 PM

    Alison-Many of us in the museum field have gone through what you all are going through – whether we've been around for 3 years or 50! At the Fire Museum of Maryland, we are starting our 2nd strategic planning process, looking at our vision statement, mission (which is 15 years old) and then writing a plan that will include the succession plan for our director, who plans to retire in about 6 years. We could have done it in-house, but decided that we needed a fresh pair of eyes to look at what we do now and what we want to accomplish in the future. We went to the Maryland Association of Non-Profits, a state-wide membership organization that helps non-profits around Maryland on everything from board development, to fundraising, and who also has a consulting program to oversee strategic planning projects. So far, we've been really pleased.


    Because you are down in Largo, you might try the Florida Association of Non-Profits at They appear to offer the same kinds of programs as our MANO and might be able to at least guide you to a consultant in your area of Florida, or can help you directly.


    Good Luck-


    Melissa Heaver

    Registrar/Research Director, Shop Buyer

    Fire Museum of Maryland

    Lutherville, MD

  • 6.  RE: Consultants

    Posted 04-15-2017 08:47 AM
    Hello Allison,

    The historic and heritage project you briefly describe appears to need of a complete planning, management and implementation museum programme.  This would cover many areas and would need to be researched and than presented to the Board and in conjunction with the Board, than it would reach a mission and vision goal phase.  

    I would be more than glad to help the historical Largo School Museum in reaching this objective or giving directions with views to long-term future developments and obtain overall social inclusion status and funding sources. 

    I see a wide variety of options but need more and precise information in order to indicate lines to follow.

    As museum consultant in the field of setting up new museums, being a professional and independent outsider the projects obtain good acceptance. 

    Please do not hesistate to pass my contact details on to Board members and stakeholders. Despite the fact that I am far away, projects are being taken on worldwide and we provide full post-project services. 

    Happy Easter,

    Christina de Vreeze-Cabrera
    International Museums Consultant 
    Art Collections Advisor
    CVC Fine Art

    Christina De Vreeze-Cabrera
    International Museums Consultant
    Art Collections Advisor
    CVC Fine Art